director M. Night Shyamalan
viewed: 02/05/2017 at Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD, SF, CA
Of course M. Night Shyamalan’s career will have a surprise twist ending to it, or maybe a lot of surprises, twisting, and it keeps on failing to end?
Shyamalan’s latest “comeback” is Split, a dissociative identity disorder thriller starring James McAvoy as a guy housing 23 personalities and abducting teenage girls. There’s no twist in this plot, you’ve seen it all in the trailers. Anya Taylor-Joy, whose remarkable countenance shined in The Witch (2015) is on display here, but in a much less effective role as the abductee Casey, whose withdrawn mien hides a dark past.
Shyamalan adds a sprinkling of paranormal to the multiple personalities trope, which doesn’t necessarily enliven or expand it (it was pretty tired already by the end of the 1960’s and modern psychiatry doesn’t quite agree with its portrayals.) But whatever.
I’m going to throw out a Spoiler Alert warning here because the “twist” at the end isn’t such a twist but rather a suggestion of “more to come”! As a thriller, Split is never too exciting, but as it builds to its end, this paranormal part, the story is capped with a last minute glimpse of Bruce Willis supposedly from his Unbreakable role. And that is the teaser because Shyamalan seems to be hinting at a Split/Unbreakable sequel, maybe turning his own filmography into its own cinematic universe.
I wish him luck because he really does need a new bag of tricks.